My definition of “vernacular” is broader than “the native speech of an area.” It includes how and where people live as well as their means of communication, from sitting around a café to texting.
Two locations in Southern California provided me with a strong contrast in observing the vernacular. From how people communicated to the architecture.
For architecture, vernacular is used to describe plain dwellings using commonplace methods and materials. To see the vernacular in architecture more clearly, it is always helpful to have an example that is so clearly not vernacular.
Oceanside is a beach community north of San Diego. It’s a little rough around the edges with a good dose of rusty charm and, apparently, more than a few socioeconomic problems.
By contrast, the Getty Center, in the hills north of Santa Monica, is a pristine architectural wonderland of water, Italian marble, glass and exotic gardens. And, of course, it houses a world-class collection of artwork in it’s museum galleries.
These two locations were the highlight during a six day trip.
A peaceful walk along the Oceanside beach with surfers in the foreground and weather beaten cottages across the road offered relief from the teeming freeways that tie Southern California together.
A different kind of peace is achieved while enjoying the masterful architecture, views and isolation of the elevated Getty Center. Nothing is allowed to look weathered and everything is kept in perfect order, and you are insulated from the world’s chaos with controlled views of the surrounding landscape.
Observing the vernacular while traveling provided me with lots of photo ops and a fair amount of enjoyment.